When It Begins

It's a Friday in June. You’ve been debating on whether to ask for your things back after your breakup in March. 

You ask a few other people what they think, and they all agree; there is still a very small crack of the door open and you know it needs to be shut eventually. It needs to be done - for you, for him, and for closure in every sense of the word. Quickly, over a six-hour long dinner at a round table, a text is drafted, edited, re-edited, changed, warped, and personally decoded to make sure it has just enough of whatever it is you're trying to say, but not too much. No hostility, but nothing sweet. This thing feels odd to you; it doesn’t feel like you’re communicating with an ex-lover, it feels like you’re writing a formal letter to a past boss.

It’s a Sunday in June. The text, after a few days of re-reading and making sure it is just enough, has been sent. You ask about getting your things, you say that it's time - because it is. Since you aren’t a heartless bitch, you do say you hope he’s been well, even though you have an idea of how he is doing. You're ready to have no ties whatsoever, nothing blocking that door from shutting and giving you complete closure. It isn’t until three days have past and you realize something you didn’t account for when you drafted, edited, pressed the send button, and watched as that green bubble appeared in that conversation for the first time since March.

You didn’t realize that you were going to be met with complete silence.

At first, this will sting. It becomes very clear that you quickly became strangers without being aware of it; you are now two people with a past and two years of memories but nothing more. You are a little naïve, but that’s okay. You think the best in people – especially those that you spent so much time with. You think that two years would be worth a response, but maybe not. At the end of the day, you want your goddamn stuff back, and that turns into an ordeal in of itself.

It's a Thursday in July. After a few messages that were only met with silence, you grow increasingly angrier. It’s when a conversation begins with his mother that finally things are arranged and set in stone. You go get the things that are yours. You meet his mum and you expect to just be written off - swiftly given your stuff back and the door shut in your face, since when things never end with just two people, it’s a ripple effect. Instead, she does something unexpected and invites you inside. It's only been a few short months but you don't feel the same feeling you did before; it's not a cozy, comforting place to you anymore. All you think about is what used to happen in this house; the past nights spent stealing covers, binge watching TV, eating pizza in bed, and falling asleep with limbs intertwined. Now, as you walk through a familiar door, you remember that you aren't a star in those memories anymore; someone else is. You hug, take your things, say goodbye, and never walk through that door ever again. 

This is when it's beginning.

It's a Friday in July. You just met a boy and you're completely smitten. He's tall and you like that. It's something you're not used to. You listen to what he has to say, he does the same. This is most definitely not the most romantic place to be meeting someone, but you're fine with that. A bar covered in graffiti is where you'll have your first kiss. Your head will go fuzzy and you will try to tell yourself that it's from the beer, but it's really from the excitement of a first kiss. He'll twirl your hair and you know that your eyes lit up at the sight of him. You start to think that you needed someone else to wake you up; to help you click the play button again, but you quickly drop that idea. Allowing yourself to be vulnerable with another person, to even entertain the idea of another person, is all on you. 

It's a Tuesday in July. It's 2am and you're lying in your bed, picking at your legs, wishing they were slimmer, longer, and everything else your legs aren't. You write a blog about it, cause that’s a thing you do now. You keep reading about this radical idea of self-love, and learning to just be okay with who you are – whatever dress size you are, whatever hair colour you have, or whatever size your thighs are. You think back to that comment that was made to you back in high school, when your body was still trying to figure out what was going on (and so were you.) It's easy to spread love to people; to tell them that the way they are - full of beauty and imperfections in a human body - is just fine. But it's hard to tell yourself those things. You've come to accept that you're never going to love your body, but you're going to stop tearing it apart when you get the chance. 

It's a Wednesday night in July, you’ll stay up late and devour Meg Fee’s blog. Her writing, which is full of heartache and growth, reminds you that other people get sad too. Other people get heartbroken too. She’ll introduce you to someone she references often, an author/lover/light seeker by the name of Cheryl Strayed. The next afternoon Cheryl’s book is in one hand and a pen in the other - underlining the majority of it. Her words, along with Meg’s, will bring you comfort and closure and the idea that whatever you resolve, you will have to resolve again. And again. When you hate yourself for getting upset over something and over someone that you’re meant to be completely over, remember this; things end, but that doesn’t mean they stop hurting you. 
It's a Saturday in July. You're drinking red wine from the bottle under the moonlight in a park with friends. You're wearing a black dress and blood red lipstick and this night will be one of the first times you will feel good about yourself since that one day in March. You'll walk the city streets with your friends; your cheeks will flush and your eyes feel like they're glazed over, and you'll be happy. That night, you'll go to an underground dance party with a bunch of actors and you’ll feel free. That night, your head will fall to a pillow on the floor of an apartment you’ve never been in before that overlooks a lake. Your body will get goose bumps against the cold floorboards, but you’re happy anyways. You have friends around you and you are reminded of how important friendship is. This will be a night you look back on over a year later. Thinking back on it now, it was very out-of-character. But being completely free tastes a lot like red wine: delicious and quite addictive. 

It's a Tuesday in November. This is your first birthday in two years without a person. You’re used to going out for a dinner with someone’s hand intertwined with yours. This year, you put on a dress, go to work, and get given flowers by someone that will mean more to you than any boy will – your little sister. Something you will remember about your sister for the rest of your life will be how, at 15, she knew how badly you were hurting after it happened. That when she saw the boy you cared about with someone new quite soon after the break-up, she kept it to herself. She wanted to save you the pain, she wanted to keep the once-intact pristine image you had of this person a little while longer. She will show more grace, maturity, and love than the boy that you spent all that time with. 

It's a Thursday night in February. The streetlights are bouncing off of the reflection of the wet road. It's been raining and you've been crying in the passenger seat of a friend that isn't really a friend anymore. He'll tell you that you deserve better and you know that you do, you are just always wishing for the best. You like to believe the best in people. He'll tell you that that will be a major flaw, and that's something you already knew too. These words will bother you for a long time; you don't want to be the girl that always becomes the fool after believing the best. 

It's May and you're in a cafe, seated across from a boy you've always fancied. He's tall and kind and he'll look at you in the eyes while you talk. This will make you nervous and your words will fall out of your mouth and you won't make much sense, but he'll smile and make you feel at home anyways. He'll take you out on dates and he'll place his palm on your back and his touch won't really feel like home. He will make you dinner and you'll sit on his couch and he will ask you if you've ever written about him somewhere - secretly. You'll say no - you aren't at the point where you need to write about him. He gives you a name to call him if you ever do - but it's a name you'll never use and you'll never go so far to write any more than what you're writing here. You think he has a girlfriend now and you smile at the thought; you didn't get there but maybe what happened was all that was meant to happen - just two people spending a short amount of time together. Nothing more, nothing less. And that was enough. 

It's June. A page falls out of a book at work with the words When there is no wind, row scribbled on the top. It reminds you of a fortune you kept from the fortune cookie at your siblings birthday, not knowing that a few short weeks after you would grip those words to wake up each morning. It read the exact same thing. Those six words will echo in your mind for the next few months, reminding you that when you feel stagnant, getting out of bed is a way to get going again.

It’s a Friday in September. You wake up to a few new emails. You read a name you know all too well; a name of the new girl. Someone you spent a lot of time blaming for the ending of that nice chapter of your life. Someone that was also enamored with those dark brown eyes and cheeky grin. But now this someone was also a little bit like you; someone that exists in fragments of memories like you. She had her final goodbyes and had her final walk out of that door, too. When she writes to you, she expresses how she blames herself for the demise of your relationship. Before you begin writing back, you think hard about what to say. There is a quick moment when you want to express how badly you felt during that whole ordeal, but that passes just as quick.

It's a Saturday in September. You begin your email by validating her guilt, but you explain why the ending wasn't on her shoulders. You will type out the words your mother said to you a few months after: People can't be taken unless they already want to leave. It stung when it was said out-loud, but it doesn't anymore. You aren't interested in having enemies anymore; you can forgive and move on. She mentions that maybe this email will help both of you find some sort of closure, which it does. You never realized how much you needed that closure, how much you needed someone to apologize and to validate your feelings. This is exactly why you will choose kindness over everything; over the need to win, over the need to scream how badly it all made you felt, over the idea of letting whatever happened tarnish your memories. Loose ends have been tied. Doors have been bolted shut.

It's a Sunday in December. You're in your bed, alone, and you've just written a whole post about feeling insecure and small in the world; about how you aren't sure if you're headed in the right way and how you want to be sure. You remember how you felt back in March; on a Saturday you were in love, on a Tuesday you were at arms length, and on a Sunday you were made a stranger. A few days of feeling insecure and being made small. A few weeks of feeling like a fool. A few months of bitterness. A whole year of becoming clean. If there is anything that the past year and a half has taught you, is that there are always new beginnings. Sometimes they mask themselves as really horrible endings; they make you cry and go through a lot before you can see that they are there, but they are - just waiting for you to be ready to wake up and begin again.

A continuation of the essay, When It's Ending.

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